Horace Grant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kurt Rambis, and James Worthy. What do these names have in common? They are all NBA legends who also wore glasses each time they stepped into the court. They say the NBA in the 60s and 70s was different than what it is today. Now, this can be said for every sport under the sun. So why is it that we forget about this when we vote for an ‘all-time greatest list’? Is Michael Jordan really the ‘best ever’?
In the UFC, we have this widely used term called pound-for-pound. Using this, it is analyzed and measured who is a better player relative to various weight categories. It is interesting to see whether a welterweight can be better than a middleweight. However, there is no such data analytics tool in place, at least not until today, that can measure and claim that a given player from the ’90s is better than one who played in the 60s. So how fair is it to compare two legends who played in totally different eras?
ESPN dropped its rankings of the College Basketball’s Greatest of All Time bracket poll earlier this year. Fans voted for these NCAA level plays, with some head-turning results. Jordan and Larry Bird made it successfully to the Top 2 with a tie. Later on, Jordan was given the top rank after polling on Instagram.
Shaquille O’Neal and Magic Johnson were some of those other big names that made the list. However, MJ’s following beat everyone.
In an interview, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explained why this comparison does not make any sense. He said, “It’s not important to me because the people that would vote for Michael Jordan don’t have the perspective. They didn’t see me play. I wish I had seen Oscar [Robertson] play. They really change their mind about that… Michael wasn’t anywhere near the college flavor that Oscar was. So you know, it all depends on your perspective.”
Although The Tower from Power is bigger than any ranking published out there, he looked disappointed. He would take names of many legends who played even before him and spoke about why the comparison is not good. He added, “People who didn’t see Bill Russell play have no idea. He’s stifled the whole league for 11 world championships. Michael Jordan had six. It’s no comparison but people don’t understand what’s being compared.”
The man with six rings and the whole of the ’90s to his name had a charisma that was unbeatable. He scored a grand total of 1788 points in three college seasons. But still, players like Larry Bird comfortably averaged better than MJ. None of it mattered much to the millennials because they would majorly vote for the NBA champion they grew up watching.
So what is your take on this? Do you believe such rankings point towards anything or are they just to satiate a curious mind? Let us know your important views.